A new branch of Andy's Man Club (AMC) will open its doors at Writtle University College (WUC) in November 2021. The nationwide talking group has more than 70 locations around the UK and offers men a safe environment to talk about issues and problems they have faced or are currently facing.
The club is one of several community programmes to make use of the University College's recently launched Centre of Sport and Health. The new group will be created by Essex resident Darren Smith, who was instrumental in setting up the first AMC group in the region earlier this year at Southend-on-Sea
Writtle University College Lecturer in Sport, Laura Northeast, said: "Mental health problems among men are exacerbated by the fact that they don't get the support they need in time. It's never been more vital for men to have somewhere to turn for that support - and to feel heard and understood. I'm delighted that we are able to provide that space at WUC so that Andy's Man Club can continue their incredible work".
AMC is open to men aged 18+. Its peer-to-peer sessions are geared at encouraging conversation and supporting men's mental health.
Each meeting's format is simple. Guests are asked five questions, three remain the same in every session; 'how was your week?', 'give me one positive from your week' and 'what do you want to get off your chest?'.
The remaining two questions can cover any topic and may range from 'what's guaranteed to make you smile?' to fun conversation starters, such as 'what's your favourite biscuit?'.
Writtle University College's Head of Student Success, Donna Franklin, said: "Andy's Man Club aims to halve the number of suicides in men under 45, and with new venues opening up across the UK they'll be able to reach more men who need that support. We are delighted to be able to provide a venue at Writtle University College in Chelmsford in our new Centre of Sport and Health on the main campus. This new venue will open from Monday 29th November and meetings will take place every Monday at 7pm apart from Bank Holidays."
Darren Smith, AMC Facilitator in Essex said: "The opening of our second group in Essex marks an important step of AMC's growth in the South-East of England. When I first accessed the support AMC offered, I was at a low point in life - fast forward a few months and I have met some fantastic people and accessed the most friendly, non-judgmental and welcoming support I have ever accessed.
"The fact we can now open our doors to men in Chelmsford and Mid-Essex as well as on the Essex coast fills me with pride - opening doors in Mid-Essex will allow us to grow further as we look to open clubs in the surrounding region and support more and more men.
"A massive thank you to Writtle University College for their support in helping us open our 72nd club on November 29th!"